Mary Lauterbach wept in a North Carolina courtroom on Monday, Aug. 23, after a jury convicted a former Marine of murdering her pregnant daughter, Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach of Vandalia.
“It’s a culmination of a long journey, the sense that my daughter is never coming back. You can’t call that closure. She’s never coming back,” the Vandalia mother said after the jury convicted Cesar Laurean, 23, of first-degree murder in the 2007 death of Lauterbach, 20.
The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for three hours.
Before the judge sentenced Laurean to life in prison without the possibility of parole, Mary Lauterbach read a statement in court. She told Laurean, who had been assigned to the same logistics unit at Camp Lejeune as her daughter, to look at his mother and see the pain in her face.
“I feel so sorry for your daughter. She will have to live with the shame that her father is in prison for murdering not one but two people,” Mary Lauterbach said.
The charred remains of Maria and her unborn son were found buried in Laurean’s backyard in December 2007.
“People need to remember there were two lives lost that day,” Mary Lauterbach said. “And he lost his today.”
“There is no joy in seeing someone go to prison,” she said.
Mary Lauterbach’s husband and four children, who had traveled from Vandalia to Goldsboro, N.C., to be in the Wayne County Courthouse for part of the trial last week, had returned home for the start of school.
She phoned her husband to tell them the verdict.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.